3 Principles Behind a Successful 12 Person Accounting Firm

Podcast

Summary

  • Challenges to Hiring in a Quickly Growing Firm
  • Perfecting the Interviewing Process
  • Creating a Successful Team Culture
  • Tracking Growth

Connect with CMH Advisors

Meet Craig Hausz of CMH Advisors

Craig Hausz and his wife are a tag team like no other. After working for Arthur Anderson and other various-sized accounting firms, they created CMH Advisors. Craig currently leads growth activities and is seen in more of a visionary role. He also is the co-managing partner with his wife, Michelle Hausz, who’s also the CFO.

Their desire to start CMH Advisors stems from their passion for helping everyone they come in contact with. It’s their goal to help their clients get 1% better every day through tax and financial strategies so they can achieve their goals and heart’s desire.

Since opening its doors in 2014, CMH Advisors has grown from a team of two to a team of 12. With clients in over 40 states, they set an example of growth they hope will spill over into their work with their clients.

Challenges to Hiring in a Quickly-growing Firm

Craig says one of the biggest challenges to managing a quickly growing firm is finding the right people. He and his wife found early on that the two of them could not keep up with the high demand from their clients. So to add to their team, they started searching for a technical expert, who could do a job similar to what they were doing, and an administrative assistant. Because they had yet to establish a culture, their first hire in the assistant role was not a good fit.

This taught Craig the importance of a slower hiring process and placed understanding the interviewee at the top of his priority list. Since then, he has formalized his hiring process and has implemented new tools and tactics to help them find the right person for the job.

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Perfecting the Interviewing Process

With the team in mind, Craig conducts an initial interview to better understand the interviewee and their interests. He gives them (and current employees) an activity inventory list which is meant to give Craig a better understanding of what they enjoy doing and what they could live without. From there, he determines if their interests match what is required of them in the role. If this is a good fit, he then moves into personality testing to get a better understanding of how they will work within the team.

Craig uses Kolbe testing and relies on their Enneagram numbers. These show how employees will perform when they are at their best, and traits to look for when they aren’t performing at their best. If these don’t align with what they are looking for, it helps Craig with the narrowing process.

Interviewees will typically go through 2-3 meetings with him: the first a phone call; the latter meetings including various team members. Because he is the visionary of CMH Advisory, he looks at every interviewee as a long-term fit for the firm. He wants to ensure his firm’s success and theirs.

Creating a Successful Team Culture

Because Craig focuses on the team and a cohesive flow, he likes to stay in touch with what’s going on in the firm. He does this through project management and workflow software which is updated daily. They also perform weekly team meetings called Level 10 meetings, that are designed for each member of the team to rate them a 10 out of 10 in terms of productivity and helpfulness.

Craig feeds off of optimism and enjoys starting each meeting by discussing what he feels the team is doing well. With this comes his celebratory mindset which adds a whole new level of fun to the firm. He takes pride in celebrating things like national pretzel day and Cinco de Quatro (a fake holiday created from the TV show, “Arrested Development”) because they add to the culture and keep employees engaged.

CMH also works hard to ensure employees are not spending more hours working than what is required of them. They believe in keeping employees happy and avoiding burnout whenever possible. Craig says he wants happy people, not more revenue, a focus not too many people in his industry prioritize.

Tracking Growth

From a numbers standpoint, Craig compares revenue and profitability to the number of employees to ensure CMH Advisors is on their projected growth path. However, his priority is more focused on the clients. If they are happy, referring others, and sticking with them, Craig believes they are on the right track.

With a goal of 65% growth in 2021, Craig is able to compare his budget to his revenue to see if they are behind, on pace, or ahead of the game. He can then implement incentives or track employee production rates to see where they need to improve or where they are doing well. However, Craig stressed again that he is more concerned with client and employee happiness over the nitty-gritty of hours worked.

With one thing in mind, the team, Craig has been able to successfully grow his partnership into a team of 12. Through a formalized interviewing process, a strong culture, and metrics designed to track growth, CMH Advisors sets a strong example for scaling an accounting firm from an internal perspective.

To learn more about the tips and tricks Craig relies on to help grow his team, listen to the full podcast above!

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